05 april 2012, 17:15
Joint press conference of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic was held
After the ceremony of signing of Azerbaijani-Czech documents, a joint press conference of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus was held in Prague.
First, the two Presidents made statements.
Recalling his visit to Azerbaijan in May of last year, the President of the Czech Republic said the relations between the two countries were developing rapidly in many spheres.
President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus expressed his confidence that President Ilham Aliyev’s visit to Prague would give an impetus to a further development of bilateral relations. He said:
- At the same time, I want to indicate that during the meeting we informed each other about the political situation in our countries. I am pleased to say that our positions on many international issues coincide.
In conclusion, I want to state that I have assured the President of Azerbaijan that the Czech Republic welcomes Azerbaijan’s plans on integration into the European space. From this standpoint, we will support Azerbaijan in its relations with Europe and the European Union and are ready to do everything in our power for that.
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Expressing his gratitude to President Vaclav Klaus for the invitation to visit the Czech Republic, President Ilham Aliyev said the relations between the two countries were gradually expanding. The President of Azerbaijan said:
- I am very pleased that the relations between the Czech Republic and Azerbaijan are developing dynamically and rapidly.
Your official visit to Azerbaijan last year, the talks held and the agreements reached have preconditioned this rapid development. Our political relations are developing very fast. Mutual high-level visits are clear evidence of that. Compared to last year, our trade has increased several times, showing our successful economic cooperation. The documents signed today cover the areas of culture and tourism. So cooperation in the humanitarian sphere is also in the spotlight.
We have also had a very open and detailed discussion on regional affairs and reviewed regional security issues.
Azerbaijan closely cooperates with the European Union and NATO. We always appreciate the Czech Republic’s support for this cooperation. We have also paid attention to energy security issues. Our relations in this area are developing very fast. I am sure that new development directions will be opened in the future.
I want to thank you again for the invitation and hospitality. Thank you.
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Then the Presidents answered questions from journalists.
Correspondent of Czech radio Dorozin: I have a question for President Ilham Aliyev. What investment opportunities are there in Azerbaijan, in the Azerbaijani economy for Czech companies? As regards the volume of trade, we are aware that it is not very large at present.
President Vaclav Klaus: Please note that Mr. President and I we have discussed this issue in detail. We are talking about the opportunities of Czech companies to invest and, in general, to work in Azerbaijan. We were pleased to note that there are opportunities for the specific joint projects in the future. Our trade opportunities should also be expanded. In particular, Czech companies can work in the field of engineering.
You have touched upon trade. I want to say that our trade with many countries does not necessarily have to be in our favor or grow in a positive direction. If we look at today's data, we can see that 25 per cent of the oil imported to the Czech Republic is Azerbaijani oil. Naturally, this suggests that trade balance is in favor of Azerbaijan. I think it is quite logical.
President Ilham Aliyev: I agree with you and can add that the volume of trade between us does not reflect the potential of the two countries. If we look at the dynamics, we can see that it has grown several times in the past year.
I said in our meeting today that we want to see Czech companies in Azerbaijan and are ready to create the conditions necessary for their successful activities both as investors and contractors.
Azerbaijan is implementing many infrastructure projects, while Czech companies have a great experience and reputation. And we want to see them among our partners. I am sure that this will be one of the excellent results of this visit.
Correspondent of Azerbaijani Television Yunis Orujov: I have a question for the President of the Czech Republic.
Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan has been ongoing for over 20 years. As you know, the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh poses a serious threat to peace and security in the region. What are the prospects for a settlement of this conflict from the perspective of the Czech Republic?
President Vaclav Klaus: Let me answer your question in the following way. Of course, this issue was generally discussed during our meeting. As for the conflict proper, it was also discussed during my visit to Baku last year. We have discussed the current situation again.
With your permission, let me openly declare: I understand the position of Azerbaijan very well. Naturally, I would be vigorously and categorically opposed to a part of my country being under occupation. Unfortunately, I do not have a miraculous solution to bring about a settlement that I could offer.
Correspondent of Pravo Newspaper Svec: With your permission, my question is to both Presidents. Did you discuss the Syria issue in your meeting? We know that it is currently on the international peace and security agenda. In particular, I would like to ask President Aliyev about your position on the Syrian issue?
President Ilham Aliyev: Of course, this issue has also been discussed. As I mentioned, we have extensively discussed international affairs. We have a fairly open and unequivocal position on the situation in Syria. This position was expressed during the vote in the UN Security Council. Azerbaijan, as a new member of the UN Security Council, unequivocally supported the proposal of the Arab League and played an active role in the adoption of the resolution on Syria. At the same time, we stated our support for Kofi Annan's plan, and this support is very broad. We do hope that the situation in Syria will soon be resolved and the killing of innocent people will be stopped.
Correspondent of Azerbaijan State Telegraph Agency (AzerTAg) Albina Atlikhanova: I have a question for the President of the Czech Republic. Mr. President, the Czech Republic is a member of the European Union and one of the initiators of the EU’s “Eastern Partnership” idea. What is your assessment of Azerbaijani-Czech relations from the standpoint of cooperation within the European Union-Azerbaijan framework? Thank you.
President Vaclav Klaus: First of all, I want to note that the European Union's “Eastern Partnership” program is a positive project. We are one of the initiators of the project. At the same time, I want to note that the Czech side has widely discussed Azerbaijan's participation in the program. We welcome the position of Azerbaijan, which has a positive approach to cooperation in this framework. If we pay attention, we can see that the name of this program contains the word “partnership”. This means that the objective of the program lies precisely in partnership and in creating all necessary conditions for it. From this perspective, we see that this partnership coincides with the position and interests of Azerbaijan. We know the position of Azerbaijan on this issue. We are sure that Azerbaijan will continue to take decisive steps in this direction. We support the position of Azerbaijan in this field.
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